We Need a Moral Breakthrough

BarberAn excerpt from Rev. William Barber’s address presented before the 74th Union for Reform Judaism Biennial convention on December 6, 2017.

We are here tonight, and 62 years ago would have been the fifth day of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Today, when the prophetic actions of Rosa Parks like Shiphra and Puah in the Bible, chose to challenge the Pharaoh of Jim Crow. She sat down and birthed a movement on a stage that produced a prophet like Moses named Martin. She sparked a nonviolent revolution. Continue reading

Nuestros Sueños

immigration

By Julia Jack-Scott

By Liza Neal

“Nuestros sueños no se detendrán incluso en la muerte.”  Our dreams will not stop even in death.

These words are painted on the Mexico side of the Border Wall.  It could have been carved on the Mayflower.  Half the Pilgrims that traveled to the “new world” died. The rest would have died if not for the mercy of the Wampanoag, who were repaid with disease, indoctrination, and their leader’s head on a spike displayed next to the Pilgrims’ crops. Continue reading

Counter-Recruiting for the Politics of Nonviolence

BindingComments on this week’s Gospel text (Mark 13:1-8) from Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus (1988), the commentary from Ched Myers, celebrating 30 years of prophetic utterance. 

The images Mark uses in 13:7f.–wars, famines, earthquakes–are all virtually generic to apocalyptic literature. One need only consult contemporaneous apocalyptic literature such as John’s Revelation, 4 Ezra, the Assumption of Moses, or the Qumran war scrolls. At the same time, these events could be correlated to contemporaneous history. “Rumors of war” aptly characterizes and describes the way in which news regarding the seesaw political events of 68-70 C.E. would have circulated around Palestine. Was the siege coming? Were the Romans withdrawing? “Kingdom rising against kingdom” might have referred to the wavering fortunes of Rome in 67, embroiled in a civil war and fearing a Parthian invasion. Major natural disasters were also part of contemporaneous history, such as the famine (which hit Palestine especially hard) of the early 50s C.E., or the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that destroyed Laodicia and Pompei in 61-62 C.E. Both Mark and his opponents could–and did–appeal to the “plurivalent” (multi-referential) nature of apocalyptic symbolics in making their respective cases. Continue reading

Aftermath of the Great War’s Armistice

ArmisticeBy Ken Sehested

The Resurrection is the Beloved’s own
Armistice, intimate seal on ancient covenant,
when the rain’s own bow arches in the flood’s
aftermath as divine reminder, animus receding
by act of divine contrition:

Never again. Never again.*
No longer will Heaven respond with drowning
contempt over earth’s profaning habit. Divine
remorse calls out for creaturely requite. The
soil itself destined for fertile bounty’s return. Continue reading

When Will We Rise?

ImageFrom the Center for Prophetic Imagination, working to live in a world where all walls of alienation are torn down and all people live justly with each other, with the land, and with the Spirit of Life. Sign up HERE to receive their weekly email updates!

Usually, we talk about the Risen Christ around Easter. But it is perhaps more fitting to explore the significance of the Resurrection on a day like today, the day after the election, when our collective imagination has been transfixed by party politics and we begin to ask “now what?”

Perhaps the juxtaposition between electoral politics and the Resurrection of Jesus seems jarring. Bear with me. Continue reading

Impoverished By Her Obligations

BindingComments on this week’s Gospel text (Mark 12:38-44) from Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus (1988), the commentary from Ched Myers, celebrating 30 years of prophetic utterance. 

The last episode in the temple is a story of a widow being impoverished by her obligations to the temple cultus (12:41-44). Long mishandled as a quaint vignette about the superior piety of the poor, Wright has shown that Jesus’ words should be seen “as a downright disapproval and not as an approbation”:

The story does not provide a pious contrast to the conduct of the scribes in the preceding section (as is the customary view); rather it provides a further illustration of the ills of official devotion. Jesus’ saying is not a penetrating insight on the measuring of gifts; it is a lament….Jesus condemns the value system that motivates her action, and he condemns the people who conditioned her to do it.

Continue reading